Friday, March 21, 2014

There Is Reality, and Then There's Charles Krauthammer

Garry Kasparov said earlier that the way to get to Putin is through his cronies. Obama gets that and has set that in motion. Kasparov, a leading Russian dissident, approves.

But, oh noes!, Charles Krauthammer views Obama's attempts to counter Putin's aggression as "pathetic." We should be arming the Ukrainians. Great. Charlie, you want the Ukrainians to go to war with Russia? No? Then WTF?

Investors inside and outside Russia love what Putin is doing. Just look at the graph above of the recent activity in the Russian stock market.

Then read this Reuters report about the effects of U.S. and EU sanctions on Russia -- mostly on Putin's oligarch cronies and their banks.
In one immediate consequence, U.S. credit card companies Visa and MasterCard stopped providing services for payment transactions with Russia's SMP bank, owned by the Rotenberg brothers, the bank said.

President Barack Obama said Washington was also considering sanctions against key economic sectors including financial services, oil and gas, metals and mining and the defense industry, if Russia made military moves into eastern and southern Ukraine.

Diplomats said the mere mention of such a possibility would chill investment in Russia, charging an immediate price for Moscow's action in Crimea and serving as a potential deterrent to going further.
This, apparently, is how the game is played. Chess champion Garry Kasparov gets it, and, it seems, so does Barack Obama.

But we forgot. Obama plays chess, and the neocons play poker. Of course, this is reality and not really about games.

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